Summary: EPA response to Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland
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The recent publication by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of its 5th Assessment Report (AR5) provides a clear context for international action to address climate change.
Ireland has to play its role in protecting the Earth’s climate system in the context of actions at European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) levels. This, as the AR5 shows, requires a transformation of the energy sector involving the phase out of fossil energy use. Ireland also requires a high quality energy supply that is sufficient for the needs of its people, its business and its social and economic development. This requires the establishment of systems for the generation, storage and use of non-fossil energy sources. As outlined in the EGP this has already started and is enabling new industry and employment. However, a major step-up is required which entails planning and investment.
The analysis of such investments should include consideration of the co-benefits for areas such as; energy security, human health, the environment and overall sustainable economic development.
The resilience of the future energy system to climate change impacts and extremes is also an emerging issue which must be addressed as part of national policy. This issue is not well reflected in the EGP but needs to be factored into long lived investments such as are required in the energy sector.